Learning from Research and Evaluation

Overview

SFUSD strives to be an exemplary learning organization by using evidence to continually monitor and improve practice. This includes learning from existing evidence as well as generating new evidence. Our ongoing work in the Research, Evaluation, and Analytics Department (READ) is to support SFUSD's capacity to use and produce evidence to guide decision-making.

Use of Research & Evaluation

Why use evidence?

Education policy and practice should be aligned with the best available evidence. School systems should engage in continuous learning and improvement.

What counts as evidence?

Evidence may come from expert knowledge, professional judgment, and stakeholder input, as well as inquiry from research, evaluation, and improvement.

We recommend consulting these external research syntheses & repositories for reliable sources of existing research evidence.

What counts as use of evidence?

We recognize the value of both conceptual and instrumental use of evidence. Conceptual use influences thinking; instrumental use applies specific findings to policy and practice decisions.

Who uses evidence?

"Policymakers and practitioners" include staff across multiple roles at the central office, school, and classroom levels. Families, students, and community members are also important users of evidence.

How should school systems use evidence?

Evidence use is a process, not an event. It depends on social interaction and facilitation. System-wide supports include a culture of evidence use, reliable access to high-quality evidence, and routines for consulting and evaluating evidence skillfully.

Please consult SFUSD's Continuous Improvement website for more resources.

Production of Research & Evaluation

Why produce evidence?

  • If decision-makers are seeking more information to resolve uncertainty about an important decision,

  • If high-quality evidence doesn't already exist,

  • If the decision-making team has the capacity to support the production and use of evidence, AND

  • If it's possible to produce such evidence on a useful timeline.

What kinds of data and evidence are involved?

Evidence may be produced using primary data (e.g., collected from observations, interviews, or surveys) and/or secondary data (often called administrative data, already stored in archived records).

Who produces evidence?

Depending on need and capacity, research and evaluation may be conducted internally within SFUSD or in collaboration with external partners.

How is evidence produced?

For SFUSD staff seeking an internal or external partner to conduct research or evaluation, please submit your request here to initiate a conversation.

For researchers interested in collaborating with SFUSD on a potential project, please consult our external research and evaluation processes for more information.